Apparently, when Ryan Walker isn't slinging footwear at Shoe Gypsy in Nichols Hills, he is off somewhere writing gorgeous, quirky songs or recording near-brilliant albums with Oklahoma City indie band Emelo.
The band's album, "Tranquilizers, Brain Screwdrivers and a Book Full of Cheery Poems," will be un-bagged formally Friday at VZD's. Recorded and produced by band guitar player and multi-instrumentalist Dustin Ragland in his Duplexio studio in Mesta Park and mixed by Trent Bell at his Norman studio, "Tranquilizers" is anything but mind-numbing, and contains 12 wonderfully written and performed songs that are as melancholy as they are cautiously triumphant.
Many of the tracks, like "Your Eyes Are Brighter than the Sun" and "Going Places Unknown," almost sound like electrified folk songs. Think The Kinks' Ray Davies fronting The Postal Service.
Deftly added textures and layers permeate songs like "Remedies Solutions" and "Hollow" " a mournful anthem about the crush of potential loss and the stark colors of empty aloneness it makes you see everywhere.
Glitchy, electronic drum sounds punctuate as Walker's soulful, morose voice rides the churning digital wash in the vulnerable "I Was Robbed," among the best on the record.
"Tranquilizers" is amazing. It's actually mind-boggling to conceive of an album this perfect " from songwriting, lyrics and music to the precise, transparent production polish " being self-produced and directed, echoing from a pretty unassuming group of Oklahoma City musicians.
Emelo's show with Chaos to Cosmos starts at 10 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $5. "Joe Wertz